Diary of a Mad County

Wednesday, July 27
Reluctant Congressman ChristopherCoxboldly tells the Senate banking committee that he supports "vigorous enforcement" of the nation's securities laws, an audacious statement given that he is in the process of being confirmed as the head of the SEC, an agency charged with enforcing the nation's securities laws. The Senate panel is duly impressed by Cox's musky, outside-the-box thinking, as is apparent from the airy quality of their questions and comments—at one point, one of the senators called Cox "tasty." Committee chairman RichardShelbyof Alabama set the tone for the day by saying, "The SEC and the securities markets will benefit from [Cox's] leadership," while he braidedthe candidate's hair. Still, some critics are concerned that Cox's enthusiasm for free enterprise could prevent him from being a tough regulator, while others mention his sponsorship of pro-business legislation as a reason for apprehension. One senator pointedly asked if Cox would truly go after rogue corporations, to which Cox replied, "Totally." "Swear?" "I totally swear." "Really?" "Really." "Because if you don't, I will be so sad." "Swear." "Best friends forever?" The committee then anonymously called the White House to find out if George W. Bush just liked his nominee or "liked him, liked him?" It finally adjourned when Democratic Senator Charles Schumer of New York fell asleep and his hand was placed in a bowl of warm water.

Thursday, July 28
Angelsget swept by Toronto, but that's okay. They're going into New York to play the Yankees, whom they own. I mean, what could go wrong, right?

Friday, July 29
Another ride malfunctions at the Disneylandresort. Tonight it's the CaliforniaScreamin'roller coaster that injures 15 when one train rear-ends another. Arriving quickly on the scene, Anaheim spokesman John Nicoletti, dressed in Mouse ears and waving a Tinkerbell wand for emphasis, said all injuries were minor and likened the accident to a fender bender, you know, the kind of fender bender that occurs when you're locked into a contraption that goes 0-55 in five seconds, has a 108-foot drop, gets completely upside-down and requires you to sit behind some yutz from Dearborn, Michigan, who won't shut up. Fender bender? How many fender benders require the mobilization of 100 firefighters and 18 ambulances? This is, in fact, the fourth major accident at the resort in the past seven years, while two of those accidents—the Columbiasailing ship and Thunder Mountain Railroad—have resulted in deaths. Fender bender? Hmmmm.Let's say someone had a fender bender and it turned out that over the past seven years they had had at least three other accidents (that we know of) resulting in at least nine other injuries and two deaths; think the DMV would think twice before giving that person a license? Yet Anaheim, Tinato Disneyland's Ike, raises nary an eyebrow—in fact, enables the behavior as it did in 1998 when it dutifully allowed Disney to stop Anaheim cops at the gate while Disney personnel scoured the Columbiaaccident scene. However, any questions about the city and park's cozy, perhaps dangerous relationship were bypassed when Nicoletti excused himself from the press conference because he said he had to go make Disneyland a sandwich.

Saturday, July 30
The long-running feud between HuntingtonBeachand SantaCruzhas finally been settled today. For some time, the two cities have laid claim to the truly lame moniker "SurfCity, USA," HB going so far as to trademark the title. Santa Cruz claims the name because many believe the first surfing in the continental U.S. occurred there and because Santa Cruz is home to 11 of the top surf spots in the nation. Huntington Beach claims the name because some of the top surf companies are headquartered there, it's home to the Surfing Hall of Fame and is the site of the U.S.OpenofSurfing. . . oooooh,had to go and mention that last one. See, today, in the women's final of the U.S. Open, Julia Christian defeats Rebecca Woods in surf so small that Woods is unable to catch a single wave. Woods could have been surfing in Huntington Parkand caught as many waves. Waves had been small all week for the competition—choppy two- and three-footers (like I know what I'm talking about). So the bit about HB being SC may be a little overstated since it would seem one of the major requirements for a Surf City would be surf. That and head shops. Still, don't celebrate too quickly, Santa Cruz: another region has weighed in with its claim. In a developing situation, Hawaiicalled to say, "Uh, hellooooo? Hawaii?"

Sunday, July 31
I'm cold.Are you cold? It's cold. What's that deal where the temperature gets all crazy and stupid and nothing goes as it should? What is that? Globalwarming?Yeah, that's all crap, right? Good.

Monday, August 1
I've been getting olderfor years now, and it's great. And by great, I mean it greatly sucks ass. Yes, the benefits of life experience and discountmovie tickets are easily outweighed by the loss of physical and mental acuity, as well as dying. I mention this because I had two old moments this weekend (I would have mentioned them earlier, but I forgot). The first happened when my wife asked me to get something from the supermarket. When I got to the checkout stand, the checker asked, "Dohaveyourkfjasljsflakjal card?" I had no idea what she said, but the fact that she was asking for a "card" told me she wanted to know if I had brought one of those frequent store shopper discount cards. Problem was, though I had driven to the store, parked my car in front of the store, walked inside the store, browsed the aisles of the store, I HAD NO IDEA WHAT STORE I WAS IN. So I am staring at the checker. She is staring at me. I don't want to ask her to repeat what she said because that's what some old dude would do, so instead, I say, "Where am I?" Much better. See, I didn't mean to say that. I meant to say "What store is this?" That way it might look like with all the hustle and bustle of my busy day, I'd neglected to notice the giant illuminated sign outside, the logo on my shopping cart, the myriad store brand items or the checker's shirt that read "Ralph's." It was after I said, "Where am I?" that the box boy asked me if I needed help carrying my bag of lettuce to my car. Now, just the next day, I saw a friend of mine, a woman, and we were chatting and, because we're good friends, she told me she was on hormone replacement therapy and that one of the hormones was testosteroneand, by mistake, instead of taking 0.1 milliliters, she had taken 1.0 milliliters. My mind quickly thought to say, "So, you have the strength of 10 men!" which well pleased me given the supermarket carnage. But my pleasure was short-lived when that message was garbled in my mouth and came out as, "So, you're a man!" Fortunately, my friend is as old as me and didn't hear it.

Tuesday, August 2
I can't ever recall needing a sweaterin August.



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